Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So Blessed!

My muscles are sore today, so that must mean my workout is working! I nearly didn't make it through my workout today because I was so sore and I may not be able to walk tomorrow!

But on the brighter side, it feels so great to feel healthier already. It's amazing what a good mood just a little exercise can out you in.
The Christmas decorations came down at our house today. Traditionally, I leave you our decorations until after New Years, but instead of rushing about this weekend cleaning everything up, I decided to do it now, when I had the time to do it right!

But the house just seems a little sadder without the glow of lights. We had them everywhere...the tree, the mantle and outside. It's crazy to think that Christmas has already come and gone.

A new year is upon us but I am hanging onto this week as long as possible because the new year also means back to work for me! I have so enjoyed this time off with my family. Seth and I don't make alot of money, but you just can't buy this time back with your family. It is so great to have two full weeks off to enjoy each other and our 3 little blessings. We are truly blessed!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's Start Today

Have you made your New Years Resolution yet?

I personally really dislike making resolutions. Over the years, I resolve to do things, but then fall right back into my old ways. There is just nothing magical about the 1st of January. It's just another day, so why do we act like a major transformation will happen on this day?

Seth and I both really need to work on being healthier (the traditionally #1 made resolution!) I had lost 5 pounds earlier this month, but saw all 5 were back when I stepped on the scale this morning.

Seth was out feeding the cows, so I texted to ask him if he wanted to do the grocery shopping today and he texted back: "Ok. Make a list." Then not a minute later, he texted, "I think we should start our diets today."

Absolutely! I couldn't agree more! Why wait until the 1st? I do already plan on cheating a little on New Years Eve! But what's the point in waiting for a "magical" day, when there's really nothing special about it at all?!
One thing Seth and I do agree on is eating right and exercising to lose weight, rather than using pills or quick-fix schemes.

So, here's the plan: The Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise

Of course, Seth doesn't follow any diet exactly as he should, but I am a big fan of this because it's not really a "diet." It's more of a guide to healthy eating. It's about watching the amount of sugar and carbs you eat. Most people eat far too much sugar because it is found in so many foods you don't even think about having sugar at all. I also tend to eat too many carbs in one day, so this guide helps me count the appropriate amount.
And, in addition, for me, (not Seth! lol!) is The Firm workout. My dad gave me this workout several years ago and I have done it on and off for years. It's one of those workouts that you know works because you can hardly walk the next day! I personally like to feel that it's working!

So, we are ready to start...today!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A funny Christmas memory

Merry Christmas to you and yours today! Here's a laugh for you. This video is from last year. This is Mann (our most "spirited" child, by far) with his new toy! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I just bought a new CD by one of my favorite Christian bands, Third Day. The album is entitled, "Move" and it is hands-down the best Christian CD I have ever purchased. The song I am sharing is called "Surrender."

Earlier this year, I surrendered to God and changed my life. No, it's not like I was on drugs and got clean or like I was an alcoholic and stopped drinking. My testimony isn't all that exciting, but it was the little things that I was doing that were not God's will for me, and I definitely wasn't putting God first in my life. I also realized that God needed to be a central focus in our marriage and family, and in the eyes and hearts of our children.

I could probably make a list of people that I could dedicate this song to today. People who like me need to put their hands up and surrender to God's amazing grace. I am by no means close to a perfect Christian, but I am trying to walk with the Lord on a daily basis and make the best decisions according to His will for us.

There are so many who ignore God because it's just easier, or go to church on Sunday for show, but don't give God a second thought Monday through Saturday. My prayer is for these people to wake up and surrender to Him.

Your life will truly turn around, believe me!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How do I explain this one?

We live in the country. And one thing that I learned quickly about country men is that they like to urinate outside. You can have a perfectly good toilet inside, but a country boy prefers the great outdoors as his toilet.
Raising little boys, peeing outside actually helped out with potty training because they thought it was so fun. Of course, we had to teach where and when outdoor peeing is OK.
Outside our house, in the country, when we don't have company, yes.
In the middle of a public waterpark, no.
The sand box you are playing in, no.
So, it was no surprise today when I looked over as we were playing outside and Mann was peeing in the designated "pee, no play" zone, off the front porch of our home. But when I looked away and then looked back, this is what I saw:

When I asked Emma Jo what she was doing, she said, "PEE!!!" So I picked her up and we rushed inside to the potty. I took her diaper off and set her on the potty. She screamed until I let her off and then she stood infront of the potty and peed all over the floor. Hmmmmm....this is going to take some work!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is He laughing at me?

I love that song by Garth Brooks, "Unanswered Prayers." We always think that we know exactly what we need when we pray, but so often, I picture God just smiling down saying, "Oh really? THAT'S what you think you need, huh?"

Earlier this year, I was thrown a curve ball and was forced to make some decisions about the way I was living my life and who I was hanging around. Someone once said, "Show me your friends, and I will show you your future." As I continued to pray about the situation, I just could not in my mind come up with a logical solution. I felt there was no way out of this sticky mess I was in. But then several months later came news that I knew was the answer to my prayers. Never did I see it coming....never would I have known to pray for that specifically....but God knew what was best, for all people involved.

It's so neat to see God working in people's lives, even when they don't notice or want to admit that He is in control.

But it's also neat when God straight up answers a prayer, just the way you asked! This happened to us this last week. As we celebrated Christmas early with my dad and stepmom, we crowded around our small oval breakfast table. The table actually belongs to Seth's sister and she has been requesting it back as soon as we could find a new one. However, the last thing we have extra money for is a new dining table. After that crowded Christmas lunch, I prayed that God would provide a way for us to get a new table. It wasn't but a few days later that Seth's aunt gave us a larger, nicer dining table!

WOW! The power of prayer is amazing....even for the smallest or simplest requests, God is there and He is listening!

Tell Him what you think you need....and listen for Him laughing at you! ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five years down, 70 years to go!

Let me take the opportunity today to brag on my husband, Seth. Five years ago, I walked down the aisle to marry a man that I thought I could never love more than at that moment. Of course, over the last five years, we have grown to love each other more deeply, especially as we welcomed our three beautiful children into the world.
I could never list ALL of Seth's amazing qualities, but here are just a few of my favorites:

-He is quiet, but confident.
-He is honest, whether it hurts or not to hear the truth.
-He is an incredibly loving and affectionate father.
-He does not look down on others or get into others' personal business.
-He will do anything to benefit his family and friends.
-He does not care what others say about him.
-He knows who he is and does not work to please others (except Papa;)
-He is good at managing money and is not frivolous.
-He is appreciative of me and what I do for him and the children and he tells me often.
-And lastly, he is the most handsome man I have ever known! :)
I could not have asked for a better match as a husband, and as a best friend.
I love you so much, baby! Happy Anniversary!

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which people sew together over the years. -Simone Signoret

Success in a marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but by being the right mate. -Barnett Brickner

A good marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person! - Author Unknown

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Real Gifts

I am wonderfully blessed. I really believe that I have the best little family in the world. My children are healthy and happy. My husband is an amazing man who puts his family above all else. All of the things I have are not from luck, or even from hard work, but from God's amazing grace. This holiday season, when so many people give thanks for the material items they receive, I have to acknowledge that my most precious possessions cannot be bought in dollars.

Lord, thank you so much for the gifts you have given me: my children and Seth. Thank you for blessing me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Why you gotta be so mean?" ~Taylor Swift

When you upset Taylor Swift, she will make you famous in a song. Well, when you upset me, I will write a blog about you. Now, you won't be made famous because I am certain I can count my regular readers on one hand, but I feel better after getting my thoughts out. :)

Insecure people are very dangerous to others. They want you to question yourself. They want you to feel as bad about yourself as they do about themselves. A year ago, I was easily influenced by these types of people. I not only let them insult me, but I actually believed them.

I have grown so much this year and I know it is because of God's influence on my life. I have chosen to put Him first and by spending time with Him daily and consulting Him throughout the day, I am able to deal with these types of people more effectively.

But we are all human, and sometimes the insecure ones around us can strike a nerve. This recently happened to me. I let some one's hurtful words get to me. Instead of turning to God, I turned to another person, who also decided also to be hurtful, instead of helpful. Finally, I went to the Lord, who calmed me and pointed me in the right direction. One more phone call to a trusted person and I received the counsel I needed to hear. (Thanks, Trish!)

God likes to test us. When you get settled in your ways, He will throw challenges at you, just to keep you on your toes! I'm a circle (if you don't know what I mean here, see my old blog post about circles here: http://powerfulpositiveperson.blogspot.com/2010/08/im-circle.html)

Circles like to just nod and smile and do as they are told, but as I follow God, I am learning that he wishes for me to stand up for myself. He is putting these challenges before me to test my strength.

Lord, please give me the strength to stand up for myself and the confidence to believe in myself and my abilities when faced by those who wish to do me harm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Season of Reason

I love the Christmas Acura commercials. Seth was so annoyed with me the other day when I insisted he couldn't channel surf because one of my favorite commercials was on. Here it is:

It is so easy to get caught up in the stockings and the lights and the festivities.

But Christmas is not about the "stuff" or even the family get-togethers. It's about Jesus coming into this world to save us.

Even in my own family, we have four different family Christmas get-togethers. FOUR?! Seriously, that seems a little excessive. Especially since two of them are planned on Seth's birthday. He claims it doesn't bother him, but I know it does. His birthday is typically forgotten among the Christmas mayhem.

There was but one Christmas....the rest are just birthdays for Jesus! Let us continue to remember the reason for the season!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm a Mama Grizzly

I have never really been into politics. I grew up in a conservative family, so naturally, I swayed towards the conservative side myself. I have become even more conservative after I started my own family. But I have never really felt strongly about our nation's state....until recently.

I'm not an Obama hater. I think his intentions are good, but I strongly disagree with our government having to give so much support to its people. As Thomas Jefferson said, "A government big enough to give you everything that you want is big enough to take away everything that you have."

Would it be great if everyone had health insurance? Of course it would! Would it be awesome if everyone had enough food on their tables to feed their families? Absolutely. But do I think that it is the government's responsibility to see to it that these things happen? Absolutely not!

Here's where I lose some people....where are our churches? Haiti....Africa....Ecuador. What about Murchison, TX? What about Athens or Tyler? There are people right in my own backyard that need a new home built or food on their table. I have students in my classroom who do not own a warm coat. I have students who come to school in dirty clothes everyday. But we have churches sending people around the globe to build homes. Please don't misunderstand...I think those trips are great, but what about the people right here at home that are in need?

The founders of our country looked at everything on a much smaller, local scale. It was a different world, a different time.

But maybe we need to go back to that mentality. It's not the government's job to take care of everyone. This just causes your people to become lazy. Why would you go to work when you are being paid to stay home?

I am not saying people do not deserve assistance. But what if they were getting it by a knock on the door, rather than a check in the mail? There's something about looking your donor in the eye that just might make people more appreciative of what they receive.

What do YOU think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If he's anything like Daddy ;)

This song goes out to my little boys. Lord, help us. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Do no evil

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

He trusts me. But Seth knows me and my mouth tends to run. I am usually kidding, but those who know me well, have heard me rant about Seth.

"So, there I am, chasing two naked boys covered in bubbles around the living room, while Seth obliviously lays on the couch, and actually has the nerve to turn UP the volume on the football game he's watching on TV!"


"Oh yeah, you want us to come to a marriage retreat? Sure! Come on over about 2am, and we will drug and duct tape Seth so we can get him there."

I have the intention to be a good wife and do no evil to my husband, but my sarcastic nature tends to get me in trouble there.

The truth is that I have a great husband. He is funny and smart. He tells me what he expects of me, as a wife and as a mother, and he stays on me when he (& I) know I am not being the person I need to be. He is affectionate and sweet behind closed doors, so as to not tarnish his precious "tough guy" rep, which I find so adorable.

I do need to work on not speaking negatively about Seth to others, but I find it easy not to betray him. I love him dearly and I would never want to hurt him or our family. It saddens my heart to see other wives who do not cherish their husbands and their marriages.

No wife is perfect, no marriage is perfect, but let us strive to be the best we can for our husbands.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just deal with it!

"There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." Psalm 106:3

Deal with others, but do what is right.

I have never been a confrontational person. The holidays can be a difficult time for people like me because we rarely express our desires outright, whether it be where we should celebrate or what dish we should bring or simply what we would like as a present. I have been working on speaking my mind more directly to others, but there is a delicate balance in saying what you think.

As I am having to teach my young children, you cannot always say what is on your mind, as that is not always the polite thing to do, nor the wisest decision in some cases. Mann recently got in trouble for addressing an elderly gentleman as, "Old man!" Mann's defense was of course that "the man was old," and it was challenging to explain why this wasn't appropriate to a stubborn 3 year old.

Such a decision came upon me today as I was having a discussion with Seth's grandfather. So badly did I wish to speak directly and honestly to him, but I gritted my teeth and smiled and nodded as he spoke. What I had to say would hurt others and it wasn't my place to say anything, but it sure was a difficult task to make the wise choice.

Dealing with people and choosing your words wisely are important lessons to learn and even at 30 years of age, I am feeling like a beginner! When should I speak and when should I stay quiet? Should I say my opinion about where and when we should celebrate the holidays or do I just go with the flow? And why do people get so upset and wound up about the little things? Even if your intentions are GOOD sometimes, people can misinterpret your words.

It's all just very exhausting, so I guess the only fool-proof solution is to ask God and wait for guidance. Letting Him guide my words and my dealings with others is the wisest move I can make!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Reminder Ring

As I was changing Emma Jo's diaper, I heard my phone ring in the distance. A new text message! I wonder who it is?

I quickly finished up the diaper change, went to throw it away and was washing my hands when I remembered that the dishwasher needed to be emptied. As I put away the dishes, there it was: the reminder alert. It's like my phone was actually saying, "Ummmm.....HELLO? I rang, did you already forget?" OK, when I finish emptying the dishwasher, I will go and check it.

As I am almost finished, I hear another familiar sound: "MOMMY!!!! Daniel STOLE my car. I was PLAYING with it and HE TOOK IT AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!"

As I attempt to stop the beating that Daniel and Mann are about to give each other, I hear the reminder alert AGAIN. This scenario could go on for hours!

Thank goodness my phone constantly reminds me that I have a call or text!

Sometimes I wish God had a reminder ring for me, too. During this Thanksgiving break, I felt as though I was not spending enough time talking to God. Being out of our usual daily routine found me jumping out of bed and hitting the ground running, instead of spending those important moments speaking with God.

Although I am not thrilled about getting up for work tomorrow morning, I am looking forward to spending that time talking with Him!

Hope you have a blessed week! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love your marriage

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless, (Ephesians 5:24-27)
Love your marriage, not just your husband! (Although, my husband is easy to love;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Practice what you preach!

Do everything without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:14

I recently was given a sign with this Bible verse on it. It is amazing how God will speak to you. The title of my blog is "The Power of a Positive Person" but how often have I been negative in my posts? ALOT!!!

I have whined and complained about the way others choose to live their lives or about things that may have not gone the way I thought they should. But truly, God asks us to perform our daily tasks, walking and talking with Him throughout our day, and not to worry or grumble about the small stuff. I definitely needed this sign in my life (both figuratively and literally!!!)

Much of my grumbling recently has been about my students. It seems that they can do NOTHING without complaining or arguing! But how can I ask them to do something that I am not doing myself?

Time to practice what I preach!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Better Teacher

You have to be careful when you pray!

I think God has a strange sense of humor. Sometimes when you pray for certain things, he likes to completely flip your world upside down in relation to whatever you pray about. For example, if you pray for your marriage, he gives you something to fight about! Or if you pray for patience, he will give you the most frustrating day of your life...full of ways to test that patience!

I have been praying for one thing in particular over the past few months. God, please make me a better teacher! This last week He has made something very clear to me: Either I need to completely change the way I do my job or I need to find a new one.

When I get up in the mornings, I am usually happy to go to work. I figured I am lucky because I have had jobs that make me dread getting out of bed. I would rather be at home with my children, but financially my working is a must-do for our family.

But am I an effective teacher? I love my students. I love talking to them about their lives and listening to their problems. But does that make me a good teacher? A good counselor, maybe. But not a good teacher. I love Texas History. I find it very interesting. But hard as I try, I can't seem to get my students as excited as I am about it.

I guess I am just discouraged. I have many very challenging students this year and I think there are a few other teachers that are also feeling worn out...and it is only November!

As I explore my options, please keep me in your prayers. Starting this next week, I am going to try to do my job completely differently. My students may not like the changes, but hopefully they will learn more in my classroom.

God, you have my attention. Please help me to make the changes I need to make in my classroom and to be an effective teacher for my students.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A "Bad" Day

Have you ever disliked yourself?

When I laid down to sleep last night, I really didn't like myself at all. I guess yesterday God decided it was a good time to remind me of my weaknesses.

Gossip has to be my greatest weakness. When I was in college, I discussed this weakness with a pastor. He said, "Gossip is spreading information that you do not know for a fact to be true. But if you hear a piece of information from the source, and then you share that information with others, that is not gossiping." This conversation ruined me. If I "share information," it's not technically gossip, but then the people I just "shared" with will go out and tell other people, having not heard it from the source. It has taken me years to admit to myself that even sharing information that I know to be true is gossiping.

Seth often tells me, "It's not your business. Just stay out of it." So, when is it my business? What if someone is being hurt? What if what is happening is morally wrong? When is it OK to speak up?

I am still struggling to find the answers to those questions.

My blog post from yesterday was a rant about parents who choose not to guard their children's eyes and ears against things that may corrupt them. I thought that venting would make me feel better, but it just made me feel worse. Maybe I am alone on the subject. Do people think I am weird or overprotective for wanting to try and shield my young children's eyes and ears? I guess it doesn't matter what others think. I am still going to do my best to keep my children pure for as long as possible.

I was already feeling discouraged about my last post when my plans for the evening changed and I found myself out with a group of people gossiping. (And eating far too much food, which didn't help my mood either.) We should have just stayed home last night. But I was all dressed up (a rarity for a mother of 3 young children) and I wanted to go out. Looking back, I would have been happier watching the A&M game on the couch with Seth. We ended up at a terrible movie. We were in Athens, and after taking the limited movie choices and times into consideration, we chose to see "Due Date." I guess it was my fault because I refused to see "Paranormal Activity 2." We ended up walking out of the movie about 40 minutes into it. It was disgusting. I was even more disgusted at the people sitting around us who found it hilarious.

Looking back now, I just sound like a whiner. My family is healthy and happy. Things are going really well. This was what Seth was trying to tell me on the way home last night. "If this is all you have to complain about, you must really be happy."

Yeah, I guess I am really happy.

Thank you, God, for reminding me of my flaws, but also for at the same moment, helping me to realize how blessed I am.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Be careful little eyes what you see....

The other day I posted the lyrics to "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns. I have been feeling really discouraged lately by what I am seeing and hearing from the children in my community.

As a teacher, you hear lots of things from children about their home life. I am certain that elementary teachers hear far more from their students than I do at the junior high. By the age of 12 or 13, they have learned to keep their mouths shut about some things. But still, many of my students feel the need to confide in me about their lives.

Earlier in the year, on picture day, I had a girl beg me to wear her nose ring in her picture (face piercings are not allowed at BJH) because she said that her mom had told her that the nose ring "showed her personality." This past week, another one of my students was requesting to go use the phone so she could call her mom to bring another belly button ring for her because she had lost the first one during athletics class. She was furious when I said no, saying that I would be getting a call from her mother because she had spent $45 on this piercing and it was going to close up. The mother didn't call, but part of me wished that she had, so I could have told this parent what I thought about a 13 year old girl getting a belly piercing.

We have dress code check every morning and I am constantly having to correct two or three girls in my classroom who try to hide their revealing shirts under their jackets. I often wonder how they get out of their house wearing these outfits. But I guess I shouldn't wonder, because I see girls as young as 6 years old wearing outfits that are more appropriate for 21 year olds, and I know their mothers are putting those outfits on them.

My students often argue with me about cursing. I have several students who claim their parents allow them to use curse words so that they can "express themselves." "They are just WORDS," they say. "They don't mean anything!" Really????

Most of my students are watching rated "R" movies, like "The Hangover" and "Stepbrothers." These movies are rated "R" for crude and sexual humor. They are also watching "Family Guy" and "South Park" on TV. How can we wonder why 13 year olds have so much knowledge for their age when this is what they are watching? The rating system is supposed to let parents know what is and is not appropriate for their children to watch, so how can they knowingly allow their children to watch programs appropriate for people 17 or older?

I think the answer is that they are not really paying attention. Children have TVs and computers in their rooms. They have access to explicit material on their cell phones. Then they share this material with all of their friends.

Recently, another teacher shared with me a disturbing story. A couple of junior high girls who happen to be sisters were hanging around in front of the school at 7pm one night with a few boys. When she asked them what they were doing, they claimed they had been in drama practice. The teacher called the drama teacher and he said there had been no practice for those girls that day. So, the teacher called their mom. When the teacher expressed her concern for the girls' safety to their mother, the mother replied, "Well, that's being a bit paranoid." Paranoid. Not allowing your 13 and 14 year old girls to run wild through Brownsboro is paranoid.

Why are parents in a hurry to let their children grow up? Little eyes and ears watch and listen from an very early age. They are soaking up everything you are doing. You talk badly about others, listen to music or watch TV meant for adults in their presence, curse, smoke, get drunk, use sexual humor....and your children are taking notes.

Be careful little eyes what you see.....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Slow Fade

These are the lyrics to Casting Crows' song "Slow Fade"

The subject matter here is something that has recently really been laid on my heart, so I am sharing it today. Please consider your thoughts and your actions and how they affect those around you....especially your children!

Be careful little eyes what you see

It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings

Be careful little feet where you go

For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear

When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near

Be careful little lips what you say

For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands

Is shorter than you're thinking

Be careful if you think you stand

You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

Daddies never crumble in a day

Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down in love

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Born Again

I am copying my aunt today. I wanted to share this video of one of my current favorite songs. This is Newsboys "Born Again." Recently, I have focused my life back in the direction it needs to go - My focus is on God and my relationship with Him. I am striving to be a better wife, a better mother and a better teacher. I am a struggling Christian, but I am Born Again! (I couldn't get the embed code to work, so here is the link.) Enjoy!


Monday, November 1, 2010

A Happy Homemaker

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." I Peter 4:8-9 (NIV)

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I take out my temper on my family. I want instead to act like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Taken from proverbs.org

Friday, October 29, 2010

Riches to rags

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in the Brownsboro ISD District Educational Improvement Council meeting. (I am the representative for the junior high campus. That makes me sound important, but don't be fooled, no one else volunteered;) The council was discussing the district's money issues (honestly, I was kind of tuned out at this point because we had gotten off-task and stumbled onto this subject) and I hear, "You know, a school like Highland Park....(WHAT?! Ears are perked up now. Is that MY high school our Assistant Superintendent is talking about?!) ....the state could take 10% of Highland Park's money and they could go to their parents and just get that money back from them." The woman beside me says, "Well, then they should have to give 20%!" and laughs. I look at her and say, "That's MY high school." Awkward silence.....

But I knew that what was said was true. Highland Park can count on its parents to deliver what is needed for their children, whether it be their time or money. From most people's perspectives here in Brownsboro, Highland Park parents are able to do this because they are very wealthy. But I know different. I grew up there.

Obviously, most people who live in Highland Park make larger incomes than people who live in rural East Texas. Highland Park is filled with doctors and lawyers and successful business people. There are hundreds of million-(or 2 or 3 or 4 million)-dollar-homes stacked side by side, raking in the tax money for Highland Park ISD. Daddy paid $9205.62 in taxes to HPISD last year (Yeah, Daddy, I looked it up;) and Seth and I paid $952.93 to BISD. Yup, I'd say that's a sizable difference.

But you say, THEY ARE RICH! THEY CAN AFFORD IT! But you know what? They are just like you. They spend what they have. Their money is tied up in their home (or homes), their cars, college tuition, etc.

But if Highland Park ISD asked their parents for something, they would get it. And you want to know why? Not because they are rich, but because those parents have made their children's education a priority. They dream of their children going to Yale or Harvard, while some Brownsboro parents are just praying their kids graduate high school. For example, when I took off a semester from college, my friends staged a huge intervention. They thought I had lost my mind! The mentality when you grow up in HP is not IF you will go to college, but which 4 year university you will chose to attend.

Brownsboro ISD is trying for the second year in a row to pass a bond election. We want to build a new elementary school and update and add-on to the other elementary school. We want to renovate the junior high school. There is mold in our walls. Our junior high students walk across streets and through parking lots to get to class. There are major safety concerns at these campuses. They are not properly equipped for disabled students.

The improvements the school district is asking for would cost a homeowner of a $200,000 home an extra $21 a month. To me, $21 a month to pay so that my 12 year old students don't get run over by a car on their way to history class doesn't sound like too much to ask. $21 a month so my 5 year old doesn't have to breathe mold everyday sounds fair.

But, a surprising number of people in our community are against the bond. People want to make excuses as to why they are voting "No," but the real reason is that they are not making the children in their community a priority. They are not even making their own children a priority. How are the teachers supposed to inspire these children to believe that they can accomplish anything, when their own parents and community are telling them, "You aren't worth an extra $20 bucks a month?"

I grew up in a rich district and I came to Brownsboro and hoped I would be able to make difference, but I cannot do it alone. If you haven't already, please Vote Yes for our Brownsboro Schools!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do the work

Many times it seems easier to just say it can't be done. I can't lose weight. I can't get organized. I can't get 200 little 7th graders to commit to learn this history! But God promises to help and nothing makes me want to try harder than knowing God is behind me!

"Then David continued, 'Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the temple of the Lord is finished correctly.'" I Chronicles 28:20 (NLT)

Dear Lord, help me to look to You and not to the hugeness of the work I have ahead of me. Help me not to be afraid or discouraged. I thank You for Your promise that You are with me and that You will not fail me or forsake me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Avalon Update

Many people have asked me if I am still loving my new car. For those of you who might not know, I traded in my Chevy Tahoe for a Toyota Avalon a couple of months ago.

YES, I am still loving it. The single thing I love the most is the extra $150 in my pocket a month that we are saving in gas money. It is about $40 to fill up my tank in the Avalon, while it was around $70 for the Tahoe. I still fill up once a week, just like the Tahoe, but that $30 a week difference stacks up to be quite a chunk of change by the end of the month!

Many have wondered about the space for three carseats and fighting between siblings. Yes, it's tight, but we have not had many issues with squabbling. I can easily reach every child from the front seat, so I can usually handle whatever problem is arising in the back!

My father (and probably some others who are not quite as vocal) was concerned about the safety of my children. Direct quote from Papa John: "You are saving gas, while putting my grandchildren at risk!"

In response to these concerns, no one wants to think about an accident, especially one involving small children. Every auto crash is different. The Tahoe is large so one might assume that it is safer, but it will roll in a crash. The front and side impact ratings for the Tahoe were "adequate" while the Avalons were "good." Yes, the Avalon weighs less, but it can hold the weight of another equal sized vehicle on it's roof before starting to crush.

The single thing that keeps my children safe is their carseats. I have chosen to keep all of my children in 5 point harness seats until they are over 65 pounds. Emma Jo and Mann are in the safest seats on the market (Britax) and when I can afford one for Daniel, he will be as well, although his Graco Nautilus is also a great carseat.

I also really like that I can hide things in the trunk. It is something you may not think about with a sports utility vehicle, but your purse or valuables are in plain view. I really like that I can just throw my bag in the trunk and not worry about it.

There are too main drawbacks for me about driving a car. The first is having to bend over to get the kids in and out. It's not a huge deal getting them out because I just turn around and unbuckle all of them and they just hop out of their seats. Getting Emma Jo in and buckled is the tricky part because she is in the middle. She is finally big enough that she can climb into her own seat and she likes to "help" with her buckle, so it should get easier as she gets bigger.

The other drawback is that I tend to blend. My Tahoe was blue and there aren't that many blue Tahoes around our area. It had a big Brownsboro Bear sticker on the back too. I was recognizable! Now, with my little gray car, my friends will drive by and not see me waving like a dummy at them! Perhaps in time this will get better as well, and I guess I do need some sort of sticker to make my car more one-of-a-kind!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you post it?

I am back on Facebook now. I just really couldn't stand losing touch with old friends and let's be real, I like being "in the loop" with all that's going on. Too many times I heard, "What? You didn't know that? It's all over facebook!" Yeah, thanks for the call, guys.

Seth and I were sitting around the other night and I grabbed my phone to update my status and he said, "You can't post THAT!" Geez, why not? I was just posting that I was watching TV with my sweet husband. (He considered that to be a "gay" status. Luckily, it's MY status, so he doesn't get a say!;) It's not like I posted that I was headed out to the strip club or I was so drunk I couldn't walk....

That's when it hit me...no one posts those types of things! (Well, at least no one I am friends with on facebook!:) Everyone always posts nice things about family trips or going to church or shopping, but people don't broadcast it when they are doing something that might not be approved off.

If you don't want people to know what you are doing, then why are you doing it?

God sees everything. He knows what you are doing AND what you are thinking, every second, of every day.

So, my promise to myself became that if I am doing something that I couldn't post of facebook, for all to see, maybe I need to reconsider what I am doing!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This isn't supposed to be a lecture!

I was reading through my old blog posts and noticed an unfortunate trend. I appear to be standing on my very high soap box in most of them!

I had to laugh because the only other place I can be found on a soap box is in my classroom, lecturing kids about bullying or effort and such. But otherwise, around most people, I tend to be very agreeable. Seth regularly reminds me that my "nod-and-smile-and-agree" behavior is really annoying. "Someone could be telling you the reasons for wanting to kill you and you would be convinced that it sounds like a great idea," he says.

I tend to go with the flow, so as not to rock the boat. If someone says something that I disagree with, I usually just nod along, and listen to their opinion. Sometimes this gives the impression that I agree with what the other person is saying. Not true, I just don't like confrontation. So unless it is something I feel really passionate about, I just stick with my faithful nod.

I suppose that writing is different. I can write how I feel and then I don't necessarily have to answer to anyone about it.

So, consider this my apology. I don't mean to lecture and I don't mean to sound "holier than thou." I just have some issues that I am passionate about that I like to discuss...mainly with myself, as a I write. ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How long can you go without it?

Can you function without your cell phone?

Within the last two weeks, I have left my phone at home all day not once, but twice. Not on purpose, or course! I mean, who in their right mind would wander around without their cell? Just in my hurry to get everyone out the door, my phone stayed all by its lonesome on the kitchen counter.

I have to admit, I felt uncomfortable without it. What if something happened to one of my kids at daycare? What if my car broke down or got a flat? What if I missed an important call or text?

It's kind of crazy to think how much we depend on our phones. I remember turning 16 and my mom giving me a cell phone (a big brick of a thing compared to today's models) and I was only to use it for emergencies...and I did. I kept it in the glove box of my car and I hardly ever turned it on!

Fast forward 14 years and I freak out when I leave home without it. We don't even have a land line at our house. My phone and call plan don't even allow me to do most of the cool things that my friends and family can do on their phones. But I still feel like I have to have it close to me at all times.

Patience is something we just don't need anymore. You can call whoever you want, whenever you want from where ever you want. You can update your facebook status while waiting in your car to pick up your kids. You can look up movie times, research the best buy on items while shopping, find directions....you can do almost anything from your phone!

A friend of mine once suggested a media fast. Instead of fasting from food, you fast from your cell and/or Internet. I did it for a day and felt completely disconnected with the universe, but definitely more connected with God. I guess that was kind of the point! ;)

People used to live without cell phones and the Internet everyday and it's not like it was too terribly long ago! Maybe every once in a while, we should slow down and put the phone down. See how long you can last without yours! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Best Company

As a working mom, I am used to never stopping. I wake up early and don't stop until late at night. This is something that working moms get used to doing everyday, so then when a break is given, it's hard to know what to do with the time you suddenly have! But a feeling I didn't expect crept up on me this last time.

Yesterday evening, I dropped my kids off with my dad and Trish and headed to the high school football game. It was then that I started to feel lonely. Even when I got to the game and was surrounded by people, I felt alone. It's funny how children, even though they may not be the greatest conversationalists, make you feel like you are in wonderful company.

After the game, I was thrilled as we were standing on the field when sweet Bradie, one of my son's best friends, let me hold her. Standing there swaying with her on my hip, I felt in the best company and was saddened again with her mom took her back.

So, sitting here now, I don't want to write any more in my quiet house. I am off to pick up my company....the best in the world!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For the Fathers

She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders
It's been a long day
And there's still work to do
She's pulling at me
Saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh please, Daddy, please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of her dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

But she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says, "Dad the wedding's still six months away but I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Build Your House Up

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1

Lord, I want to build today. I can see what this day holds: driving to daycare and work, washing dirty clothes, making another supper and teaching Texas History…the same lesson, seven times in a row. Open my eyes and shut my mouth when my actions are leaning toward destruction. May I choose inspiration, not irritation. Make me a builder empowered by your Holy Spirit with strength and wisdom. Thank You for this incredible opportunity. May I make You proud! Amen.

~From Proverbs 31.org Daily Devotion (Awesome website for Christian women! Check it out!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Which Type of Parent are You?

When parents see their child's school on the Caller ID, there are two possible responses:

1. "Oh no, I hope he's not hurt!"


2. "Oh no, what did he do NOW?!"

I am on the other end of the line with news about your child. Sometimes it's good news, but most times, it's not so good.

It's difficult to tell a parent that their child is causing problems in my classroom and so calling parents is not my favorite thing to do.

After a few years of calling parents, I have been able to categorize parents by their initial responses during that first phone call home. (I say the first, because unfortunately, in some cases, many calls are made by the end of the school year.)

Here are the types of parents I have run across:

The Agreeable: This is the best type of parent to call. They quickly acknowledge your concerns, perhaps ask questions about the specific behavior or classroom environment and then assure you that it will be taken care of at home. They thank you for calling. Short, sweet and simple. You usually don't have to make many phone calls home to this parent throughout the year.

The Weeper: This conversation usually starts out like the Agreeable parent. But then, just when you think you are about to get off the phone, silence, followed by broken words and sniffling. This parent is typically saddened that her baby has reached puberty and has turned into an entirely different person. "What are we to do with him???" sniffle... sniffle....very awkward.

The Excuse-Giver: This parent is quick to interrupt you as you describe the problem behavior. "Oh, well, he didn't sleep well last night," or "Her dad has been out of town and it is really affecting her," or the classic and most heard of them all, "He forgot to take his medicine today." This is a well-meaning parent, and making excuses is sometimes easier than having to deal with the bad behavior.

The Defender: This parent is usually very quiet at the beginning of the conversation, hanging on your every word. It is not until she speaks that you realize that the reason that she was quiet, was so she could find a loophole for her child. "What is wrong with your instruction, your classroom or the manner in which you handled the misbehavior? This could not possibly be MY child's fault, so we must get to the bottom of why YOU are targeting MY child like this!"

The Whatever: This is the worst kind of parent contact for a teacher. If you can get this parent on the phone, you are lucky. He is usually screening your call, and that's if you can locate his number because the numbers the school has are disconnected. Once you have trapped him on the phone, he will silently listen while you describe the situation. You may have to say, "Hello, are you there?" every once in a while to make sure he hasn't hung up on you. Then he says, "Ok then, thanks for calling." CLICK. You won't get ahold of this parent again, but it's alright, because he had already forgot you called by the next time he saw his child.

So, which type of parent are you?